Unusual Character Education Programs

You’ve no extra time to teach character education programs because you’re already a great model of your most cherished character traits.

You want your kids

  1. To be good students and good kids.
  2. To be healthy and loving.
  3. To have lots of friends. And
  4. You want a little peace of mind knowing you’ve done a darn good job preparing your children for adulthood.

Am I right so far? Excellent. You’ve come to the right place for help. But there’s one more character trait that your kids lack that often nags you.

Can you think of it? Come on, be honest. I know many people say you’re not supposed to want this, but deep in your heart, you do.

When’s the last time your kids made you breakfast in bed? (Mother’s Day doesn’t count).

Or cleaned their rooms without you yelling and screaming? Mostly, you want them to appreciate just a little what they have.

But is this realistic? Can young kids and children ever appreciate what their parents do for them? And should they?

Introducing kids to gratefulness is a difficult, challenging task. Yet, it’s possible to plant the seeds and someday they’ll sprout, rest assured.

Let me share one unusual character education lesson plan, based on character traits of extraordinary leaders, that shows how character education programs can plant the seeds for lifelong gratitude.

One character trait forms the foundation of this program.

  1. Kids who learn this trait (even if it doesn’t show up until adulthood), are guaranteed success of the heart.
  2. Nothing is more important for a successful life than one rich in being grateful for who one is and what one has.
  3. I’ll teach your children to begin to express gratitude for things they now take for granted. You may witness them become happier. This expands their hearts to love themselves and others.

How to Be Happier by Expressing Gratitude Daily

Have your children do the following steps. (Until the end of the lesson, I speak directly to your child, so print this out for her use).

Step 1: Buy a special notebook that is your Gratefulness Journal.

Step 2: Start a section called Gratefulness Inventory. (1 minute)

Step 3: Think of 5 things you have to be grateful for. For example, your house, your bed, your pet, your best friend, your clothes, your mind, etc. (3-5 minutes)

Step 4: Make a list of these 5 things. (3 – 5 minutes)

Step 5: Say to yourself or out loud: “I’m grateful for or I’m thankful for_______(each of the 5 things on your list). (2-3 minutes)

Step 6: Add 6 more things to your list. Things can be body parts, for example, “I’m thankful for my legs, I’m grateful for my eyes, I’m thankful for my brains, etc.” (3-5 minutes)

Step 7: Write a brief note (100 – 200 words) expressing gratitude and thanks to your favorite person or best friend in the whole wide world. (15 minutes)

Step 8: Send the note or give it to your favorite person. (2 minutes)

Step 9: Notice how you feel. Do you feel any different than when you began this exercise? Explain and share with mom if there is a difference. (3 – 5 minutes)

Step 10: Repeat 10 steps weekly for 3 months.

Mom, with your guidance and your child’s efforts, she’ll learn to like expressing gratitude regularly, because it makes her feel so good.

Article Summary

I’ve just shared how to teach your children to be grateful. Gratitude is one of our most important assets in successful living.

The more your children express gratitude, the happier their hearts become. However, there are other ways for your kids to be happy now, even if they never express gratitude. Visit the Resource Box following this article for more resources on character education programs that empower kids to be happy now.

Understanding the Boundary Between Education and Literacy

The Title is self-explanatory. Let’s clear our concepts first;

What is Literacy?

Literacy is the ability to read, write and express ourselves. The key to literacy is reading development, a progression of skills that begins with the ability to understand spoken words and decode written words, and culminates in the deep understanding of text.

What is Education?

I define Education as the capability to use the ability to express ourselves. This is one line definition of education. Education is the application of literacy, not just the literacy.

A person can’t say that “I am educated because I know how to read, write and express myself.”

Coming to my point, Are we really getting educated or just literate? People pursuing great degrees are still left unemployed. Students with great minds and talents are unemployed and maximum number of unemployment can be seen in engineering. Why is this? The answer to all these questions is THEY ARE JUST LITERATE, NOT EDUCATED.

They lack skills because they just know to express themselves but they don’t know how to express, why to express and what to express. Education involves whole methodology of applying skills, to foster development and exploring new ideas.

Now, coming to India’s education system, I believe that India is focussing on its academics but not in proper manner. Children here are characterized on the basis of their grades, marks and how much they know, not on their talent, skills and how much they discover the undiscovered. The children who have knowledge are intelligent but the children who discover and explore knowledge are called to be wise and genius.

Taking an example, Albert Einstein found no profit and interest in knowing history and learning those dates, left one of the best schools by giving fake medical certificate of nervous breakdown and started discovering the undiscovered, exploring the unexplored and fostering the science and technology not for anyone else but for himself, for getting inner satisfaction and peace. He is one of the best scientists who brought a new look to the era of science.

The people in India who are extremely talented and skillful, leave the country for getting better jobs and opportunities in foreign cities. Why this happens? What is the reason? What makes people and talents of India to leave such a wonderful country? Is this because of outer fantasies, glories or fame? No, the answer is, India lacks in its education system which makes Indian talents to settle outside.

India is a democratic developing country. India is developing constantly in its academics but in wrong way. We are just getting LITERATE, not EDUCATED.

Leaving a question for you;

Are you just literate or educated?

Eco-Psychology and Expressive Arts – Truly a Holistic Offering

Dianne Monroe of San Antonio, TX is an Expressive Art Facilitator who combines eco-psychology in her work. She shares what she does and why she is called to this work.

GJC: What do you do?

DM: I am an Expressive Arts Facilitator, writer and photographer.

Much of my work is about facilitating reconnection (with our inner selves, with others, and with the natural world) and guiding people to discover, explore and deepen their understanding of their unique gifts and how they live them in this world. Through workshops, classes and consulting I offer my own blend of Expressive Arts and Eco-Psychology – using arts, creativity and nature to offer tools and pathways for healing, connection, a deeper understanding of self and as a guide in one’s journey through life.

GJC: How have you prepared for your career?

DM: My life experiences have prepared me for what I do!

An early love of art and deep connection with others led to my work as a writer and photographer, and many years as an Arts Educator working with both children and adults.

Through my work as a writer and photographer I personally experienced the power of art and nature to touch hearts, change lives and express the intimate mysteries of the human spirit. As an Arts Educator, I felt great joy in my ability to offer this experience as a gift to others.

My personal journey to better understand this profound power led me to study Expressive Art, through the program led by Barbara Ganim at Salve-Regina University. During my studies, I discovered Eco-Psychology and began to develop my own way of blending these two fields (Expressive Arts and Eco-Psychology). Since that time I have deepened my conversation with the natural world, pursued further learning, and continued to evolve my work and what I offer to others.

GJC: Why are you called to this work?

DM: Again, life called me to do this work.

It was through my own artistic journey and life journey that I experienced again and again the profound power of art – to touch, heal, change. My many years as an Arts Educator showed me that this power lies within everyone.

For me, art and creativity are as natural and intrinsic to humanity as breathing – and can open us to new ways of experiencing, knowing and being in relationship with ourselves, others and our world. We are all artists and the most important artwork we are creating is our lives, our unique selves, and how we live our gifts in this world.

I am called to this work because I want to share the joy of this discovery with others.

GJC: Do you work with individuals? Groups? Workshops? Conventions? Conferences?

DM: I work with both groups and individuals. I offer workshops, classes and consulting. I have presented and brought workshops to conferences and also trained therapists, counselors, teachers and others in ways to integrate the arts into their work. I offer consulting on Expressive Arts and nature activities with youth. I can also work by phone.

GJC: Will you travel?

DM: Yes, I enjoy traveling.